Gatwick Airport has been working in collaboration with Stanley Robotics—the car parking robotics company—to explore the use of robotic valet car parking at the airport, with possible introductions available to passengers early this year (2019).
The primary element of the development is the installation of eight cabins on the east side of the trial area. Each cabin is expected to be some 4.6 metres x 8.7 metres x 3.2 metres high, with two secure access-controlled entrances. One for the customer to enter and exit in their vehicle and on the opposite side is an entrance for the robot valet to access the vehicle.
At the customer entrance there will be a canopy to provide rain cover as they enter their details on the access control panel. The touch screen kiosk on the vehicle cabin will allow customers to confirm their parking booking before leaving their vehicle, retaining their keys and making their way to the terminal. Once the vehicle is left, the cabin is automatically secured and the valet robot collects the car by sliding its carrier underneath the car and taking it to a parking space in the secured parking area.
The car parking service is connected to the customer’s flight information so that upon a passenger’s return the car is retrieved by the robot and returned to a designated vehicle cabin ready for the passenger’s arrival. Unlike normal valet operations with block parking undertaken by drivers, the use of robotic technology allows more cars to be parked in the same area because of parking precision and no need for access to driver side doors.
Parking zone B currently accommodates some 2,350 spaces, which will reduce to 2,180 self-park spaces and 270 robot valet parking spaces during the trial. This area is fenced off from the remainder of the Long Stay Car Park and new road markings wayfinding will be provided to help passengers locate their parked vehicles. According to Crawley Borough Council, a future phase of the project for Zones C and D could increase car parking capacity from 6,000 self-park spaces to 8,500 robotic parked valet spaces.
Proposals for robotic parking are being explored by Crawley Borough Council in response to the Gatwick’s capital investment plan requirements for additional airport car parking spaces and to optimise the existing car park areas and infrastructure. Final decision comes on Friday February 15 2019.
Photo credit: Stanley Robotics